The prophet Joel had a broken heart, troubled soul, for the people of his day.
They had gone far too long with their hearts turned away from God. God had sent judgment on them and continued to do so until they turned back to Him.
The word that is used to describe their turning back to Him is repentance. It is a “turning away from something, a changing of directions.” Many times, in our walk with God we ask for forgiveness, but we don’t repent. We do not turn away from the sin. We ask God to forgive us, but we do not turn from our sin. Our God wants our whole hearts to be turned from their sin and to be turned to Him. The people had gotten away from God and God is asking them to return to Him with fasting and weeping and mourning. They should be broken because of their sin.
Joel 2:12-14 New American Standard Bible
12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“Return to Me with all your heart,
And with fasting, weeping, and mourning;
13 And tear your heart and not merely your garments.”
Now return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, abounding in mercy
And relenting of catastrophe.
14 Who knows, He might turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him,
Resulting in a grain offering and a drink offering
For the Lord your God.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
We have all had moments when we became angry. A lot has been said about driving lately, but many things can push us towards this emotion. At work, we might experience something that isn’t justified, and we get angry. At home one of our children or our spouse might say something that, while true, hurts and causes anger. Or perhaps a friend misses a get-together with us, and we are angry. Perhaps this has happened between you and God. You wanted something to go one way, and it went a different way, and anger at God was the result.
While our anger may seem justified, in the end what does it hide? This emotion can really put some major blinders on us and cause us to miss out on something indescribably exciting and special which God’s planned for us. While we are in this emotional condition, we just might not see, hear, or otherwise experience something good for us. More than likely, we’ve all had this experience. It’s as if our anger has closed our senses off to life and we became focused on its cause.
Perhaps today, even today, try stopping, consider taking another approach, consider staying a little longer in an attitude of prayer, reflecting on the times when you have been angry in the last few days, and confessing them to Jesus.
Throughout your time of self-reflection, confession, recite the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” My hope for you is that this time will be uplifting and will give you freedom! Then, as you go through your day, and that feeling begins to come, focus on what we read in Philippians 4:8, and change your focus from anger to what’s given in the passage of Joel.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is [a]lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything, worthy of praise, think about these things.
God only wants to make our hearts whole
Yes! We can absolutely trust God with our whole hearts. Joel writes: “He is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.
Abounding in steadfast love – When I hear that phrase, I picture overflowing love that floods out from our God, envelops and surrounds and covers us.
That is the God we serve. One who slows His anger, embraces and heals hearts.
Joel chapter 2, Verse 13 is such an encouragement.
We are to have a broken heart on the inside. God doesn’t want us to appear broken and put on some sort of show, but He wants us to have a broken heart. The encouraging thing is that we can turn back to Him and that He is gracious and compassionate. He is not sitting there waiting for us to return to Him so that He can make our lives miserable. He is so gracious and compassionate.
When we turn back to Him and turn away from our sin, His love for us is so incredible. As Joel says in verse 14, “who knows…He may leave behind a blessing.” What a great thought. We can turn from our sin and turn back to our loving God, and He might even bless our lives for that! God wants to bless us. God wants to do amazing things in our lives. Sometimes, we have to turn from our sin and turn our hearts back to Him and allow Him to be God in our lives.
- Spend some quality time reflecting back up on yourself in prayer and ask God if there are things in your life you need to repent from. (Psalm 51 and 139:23-24)
- Priorities? Have you started chasing after sin and stopped chasing after God?
- Change Directions? Do you need to return back to God with all of your heart?
Today, try to make it your practice to keep your eyes open to things in your life that have caused you to turn away from God and to look for ways to turn your heart and your soul and your strengths back to Him. Repent. He is gracious!! Repent. He is slow to anger!! Repent. He is abounding in His steadfast mercy!!
Come to the Well where the Waters of God’s Life wait to refresh, restore you.
Leave behind what absolutely needs to be left behind at the foot of the Well.
Then turn around. Leave it all behind!! Leave it all behind!! Leave it all behind!!
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us pray,
My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, your power is beyond compare. You turned water into wine. You restored sight to the blind and made the deaf hear. You made the lame walk. You healed the sick and raised the dead. You conquered death in your resurrection. Everything you touch is powerfully transformed. Let me know that powerful touch in my life. Lord, bless me and keep me, make your face shine upon me, be gracious unto me. Through your mighty name, Amen.